The government is considering a number of measures to tackle corruption such as the formation of the office of the Lokpal or Ombudsman to investigate corruption cases, the Judicial Standards and Accountability Bill, 2010 that requires judges to declare their assets, lays down enforceable standards of conduct for judges, and establishes a process for removal of the Supreme Court and High Court judges (see PRS Analysis) and the Public Interest Disclosure and Protection of Persons Making the Disclosure Bill, 2010. In 2004, following the death of whistleblower Satyendra Dubey, the government issued a notification laying down certain guidelines for whistleblowing and protecting whistleblowers.  It introduced the Public Interest Disclosure and Protection of Persons Making the Disclosure Bill, 2010 in August 2010 to give statutory backing to the 2004 government resolution.  Commonly known as the Whistleblower’s Bill, it seeks to protect whistleblowers i.e. persons making a public interest disclosure related to an act of corruption, misuse of power or criminal offence by a public servant.  It designates the Central and State Vigilance Commissions to receive disclosures from whistleblowers and lays down safeguards for protection of whistleblowers (see PRS Analysis). The Bill was referred to the Departmentally related Standing Committee on Personnel, Public Grievances, Law and Justice.  The Committee presented its report on June 9, 2011. Key recommendations of the Standing Committee

  • § The Bill seeks to establish a mechanism to register complaints on any allegation of corruption or wilful misuse of power by a public servant.  The Committee broadly agreed with the provisions of the Bill but hoped that the government would consider the recommendations and adopt them wherever found appropriate.
  • § The Bill covers any complaint under the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988; wilful misuse of power, and a criminal offence by a public servant.  The Committee suggested that the scope of the Bill may be widened to include offences such as maladministration and human rights violations.  Specifically, the Bill should cover accrual of wrongful gain to a third party.  Also, the definition of “public servant” in the Indian Penal Code and the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 could be adopted for this Bill.
  • § The Committee proposed that the defence forces and intelligence organisations should be included within the ambit of the Bill.  There could be reasonable exceptions based on operational needs of the forces.  Alternately, a separate authority could be set up for these exempted agencies.  It added that the Bill should cover members of the Council of Ministers, the judiciary (including higher judiciary) and regulatory authorities.
  • § The Bill states that a public interest disclosure can be made only to the Central or State Vigilance Commissions (VCs).  The Committee is of the opinion that this may restrict access especially to population in remote areas.  It recommended that the Rules should provide for a smooth and convenient system.  The Committee added that if there are multiple points at which complaints can be made, the identity of the complainant should be strictly protected.
  • § The Bill does not allow anonymous complaints.  The Committee however suggested that if the anonymous complaints have supporting documents that substantiates the claims, the VCs can investigate it.  It also advised that an alternative mechanism could be set up within or outside the Bill for inquiring into anonymous complaints.
  • § The Committee recommended that there should be a foolproof mechanism to ensure that the identity of the complainant is not compromised with at any cost.  This is especially important because without such a mechanism it would deter prospective complainants due to fear of harassment and victimisation.
  • § The Bill allows the VCs to reveal the identity of the complainant to the head of the organisation if it is necessary to do so.  The Committee recommended that the identity of the complainant should not be revealed to the head of the organisation without the written consent of the complainant.
  • § The Committee felt that undue burden should not be placed on the complainant to provide proof to substantiate his case.  As long as he is able to make out a prima facie case, the VCs should follow up on the case.
  • § The Committee is of the view that the VCs should inform the complainant about the outcome of the complaint.  Also, the VCs should give reasons if it decides to dismiss a complaint and the complainant should be given a reasonable hearing if he is not satisfied with the dismissal.
  • § The Committee proposed that there should be a time limit for conducting discreet inquiry by the VCs, for inquiry by the head of the organisation and for taking action on the recommendations of the VCs.  The authority would have to give reasons in writing if it wants the time limit to be extended.  There should also be some mechanism to ensure that the directions of the VC are not avoided to protect the wrongdoer.
  • § The Bill states that the VCs shall not entertain any complaints made five years after the action.  However, the Committee is not convinced that this restriction should be prescribed.  If at all there has to be a time limit, exceptions should be made in case of complaints which prima facie reveal offences of a grave nature.
  • § The Committee recommended that the term “victimisation” should be defined and the whistleblower should be provided with sufficient protection to protect him from violence.  Also, witnesses and other persons who support the whistleblower should be accorded the same protection.
  • § The Committee strongly recommended that there should be a mechanism to ensure that the orders of the VCs are complied with. Stringent action should be taken against any person who does not comply with the order.
  • § The Committee felt that the penalty for frivolous or malafide complaints was too high and should be substantially reduced.  Also, while deciding whether a disclosure is frivolous, the intention of the complainant should be examined rather than the outcome of the inquiry.  The complainant should also have the right to appeal to the High Court.


The Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) has decided to conduct an off-cycle meeting today to discuss the failure to meet the inflation target under Section 45ZN of the Reserve Bank of India Act, 1934. As per the Reserve Bank of India Act (RBI), 1934, MPC is required to meet at least four times each year, to discuss the macroeconomic issues in the country, and take policy decisions to address those. This is the second time MPC has conducted an off-cycle meeting in 2022-23. The meeting is scheduled in light of inflation being consistently high for nine consecutive months.

In this blog, we discuss what the inflation targeting framework is, examine retail and wholesale prices, and the divergence between them.   

What is the inflation targeting framework, and what happens if inflation is persistently high?

In 2016, Parliament amended the RBI Act, 1934 to change the monetary policy, and introduce an inflation targeting framework. This framework prioritises price stability to achieve sustainable GDP growth. Price stability allows investors to confidently invest their money for productive activities, without worrying about it losing value. Price stability also maintains the purchasing power of consumers, i.e., the ability to purchase a good (or service) with a given amount of money.

As per the new framework, the central government, in consultation with RBI sets: (i) an inflation target, and (ii) an upper and lower tolerance level for retail inflation. The target has been set at 4%, with an upper tolerance limit of 6% and a lower tolerance limit of 2%. The upper and lower limits indicate that although it is desirable for inflation to be close to 4%, deviation between these limits is acceptable. The target and bands are revised every five years. In March 2021, the existing targets were carried forward.  

Retail inflation has been above 6% for the past nine months, and it has been above 4% from October 2019 onwards (See Figure 1).

Figure 1: Consumer price index (year-on-year; in percentage)


Sources: Database on Indian Economy, Reserve Bank of India; PRS.

If inflation is above or below the prescribed limits for three quarters, RBI must submit a report to the central government explaining why prices have been rising (or falling) persistently, what will be done to correct that, and an estimate as to when the target will be achieved.   

The MPC uses tools such as interest rates to control the level of inflation in the economy. One such rate is the policy repo rate, which is the rate at which RBI lends money to banks. An increase in the policy repo rate makes borrowing money more costly, and hence is expected to control inflation by reducing the money supply. MPC increased this rate from 4% in April 2022 to 4.4% in May 2022, to 4.9% in June 2022, to 5.4% in August 2022, and to 5.9% in September 2022.

Breaking down the Consumer Price Index and the Wholesale Price Index

Consumer Price Index (CPI) measures the general prices of goods and services such as food, clothing, and fuel over time. Retail inflation is calculated as the change in the CPI over a period of time. Goods and services such as petrol, food products, health, and education are considered for its calculation, which are assigned different weights (See Table 1). Between February 2022 and August 2022, the average annual inflation was 6.9%. The rise in prices of subcomponents of the CPI during this period is indicated in Table 2.

Table 1: Assigned weights for the calculation of CPI



Food and beverages


Miscellaneous (including petrol and diesel, health, and education)




Clothing and footwear


Fuel and light


Pan, tobacco, and intoxications




Sources: MOSPI; PRS.

Table 2: Average inflation of some CPI components
between February 2022 to August 2022 (in percentage)

Subcategory of CPI

Average inflation



Oils and fats




Fuel and Light


Transport and communication


Cereals and products


Sources: Database on Indian Economy, RBI; PRS.

CPI is not the only index that measures inflation in an economy. The Wholesale Price Index (WPI) measures the wholesale prices of goods. A change in wholesale prices reflects wholesale inflation. Table 3 indicates the weights assigned to goods for calculating the WPI. Manufactured goods include metals, chemicals, food products, and textiles.   

Primary articles (23%) include food articles, and crude petroleum and natural gas. Fuel and power (12%) include mineral oils, electricity, and coal.  WPI has remained above 10% from April 2021 onwards. It reached an all-time high of 17% in May 2022. This was driven by the inflation in metals, kerosene and petroleum coke, fruits and vegetables, and palm oil.

Table 3:Assigned weights for the
calculation of WPI (in percentage)



Manufactured products


Primary articles


Fuel and power


All commodities


Sources: Ministry of Commerce and Industry; PRS.

Why has WPI inflation been consistently above CPI inflation?

Movements in the WPI have an impact on the CPI.  For almost a year and half, CPI inflation has remained below WPI inflation.  However, as per the design of the indices, it is expected that CPI would remain above WPI, and that any increase in WPI would reflect in the CPI after a time lag.  This is because retail prices include taxes (as a percentage of price), while wholesale prices do not.  Additionally, some of the goods in WPI act as inputs in the goods considered in CPI.  An increase in input prices would lead to higher retail prices after a time lag.

We discuss possible reasons for why CPI has remained below WPI for a year and a half.

Figure 2: Consumer Price Index and Wholesale Price Index


Sources: Database on Indian Economy, Reserve Bank of India; PRS.

Composition of indices

As indicated in Table 2 and 3, the composition of the two indices varies. For instance, prices of manufacture of basic metals, chemicals, and machinery grew at an average rate of 13% between February 2021 and September 2022.  They contribute 7% to the WPI. These are input goods for producing final goods and services such as automobiles, which are included in the CPI. The rise in prices of transport vehicles, communication devices, fuel for transport, and housing (CPI components) rose by 6% during this period.

The Ministry of Finance has observed that wholesale prices did not feed into retail prices (from March 2021 onwards) as wholesalers absorbed the rising input costs and did not pass them on to retailers. In August 2022, it noted that as retail prices are rising now, the pass-through may occur.